Scotland beat India and then draw with South Korea
Days 2 and 3 of the FIH Champions Challenge saw the competition of the pool matches in both Pools A and B. The results of these matches go forward to decoding the Quarter-final match-ups.
On Day 2, Scotland were drawn against India who had suffered a torrid time against the hard-hitting South Koreans. Although India appeared to be much improved from that match, Scotland dominated the first half, but failed to get on the score sheet until the 30th minute from a Nikki Kidd penalty corner, which Emily McGuire followed up three minutes later with a second from open play. Scotland continued their domination of the match in the second half and added to their tally from a Vikki Bunce penalty corner and another open play goal from Rebecca Ward.
In the other Pool A match, Belgium were beaten by the South Koreans in a tense match. The Korean’s went ahead late in the first half, but Belgium drew level from a penalty corner halfway through the second. Three minutes later, however, South Korea struck back with their second to take the match 2-1.
In Pool B, following up a period of sustained pressure, USA scored first in their match with South Africa. However South Africa hit back with a goal in either half to take the match 2-1. Also in Pool B, Spain and Ireland played out a 2-2 draw. Leading 2-0 at the break, Spain let Ireland back in to draw level with two goals in four minutes. Spain had a final seconds’ penalty corner, but the ball was launched over the bar, much to the joy of the Irish.
On Day 2 Scotland were up against South Korea as World Ranking 16th played 7th. South Korea opened the scoring in the 12th minute, but a later yellow gave Scotland the one player advantage. It was an advantage they used well and began pressing the Korean defence. Pressure told in the 31st minute when Linda Clement hit home for the equaliser. With Nikki Cochrane doing great things in the Scottish goal, Linda Clement – again – took advantage of a missed ball in the Korean ‘D’ to deflect in for the lead. South Korea then threw everything at the Scottish defence, but Cochrane was playing the proverbial blinder. Unfortunately Korea converted a penalty corner in the 57th minute to draw level and the match ended 2-2.
The other Pool A match was between India and Belgium and India came under the cosh once again. A spate of green cards – one player receiving two(?) – led to Belgium scoring their opener after 33 minutes to lead at half time. They followed that up with a second soon after the restart and a third five minutes later. Another two goals in the final five minutes sealed the win for Belgium and consigned India to bottom of the eight teams.
In Pool B, Spain earned a hard fought draw with South Africa. Indeed, Spain were dominant for most of the first half and scored first to take the lead. South Africa then came back with an equaliser before half time to go into the break 1-1. The second half was a half of missed chances and unforced errors. Missed chance of the half came South Africa’s way when Zuberia, in the Spanish goal, saved from a penalty to keep the scores level, 1-1 being the final score. The other Pool B match was between USA and Ireland, and USA went on to take the match 3-0. Scoring all three goals in the first 25 minutes, the American team continued to hold the Irish at bay for the rest of the match, but didn’t manage to add to their tally.
The Quarter-final line-ups are therefore –
South Korea v Ireland.
Belgium v Spain.
South Africa v Scotland.
USA v India.
(Photos – Vikki Bunce and Linda Clement in action against Belgium)
Images from some of the matches can be viewed here